Happy Birthday, Rory! (An interview with the mouse in my heart)

One year already since the publication of my first novel, The Stowaways, starring you, Rory Stowaway!
How does it feel?

It was an exciting year. But tough! You put me through a lot of new experiences. Getting lost, finding a way out, losing our home…

Do you think it was worth it?

Yes! I got to do a lot of things I never thought I’d do. And I found out how courageous a mouse can be!

Would you do it all over again?

Um, why?

Because I’m writing you into a new adventure and you sort of have no choice about it. Unless you really, really don’t want to go…

No, I want to! We need to find a new home. Where are we going?

Well, so far you don’t know entirely where you are — just that there are strange new creatures to contend with, and some things that make you very uncomfortable — things you can’t explain. And you know how you love knowing the answer to everything… But one thing you will know is that your little sister Bimble is pushing to the front of the line, and you don’t like it.

But she’s only a pup!

Not anymore. She’s growing up fast.

Will she go on adventures with me?

Only if you let her.

Maybe…. She’s probably easy to travel with — she sure doesn’t say much.

We’ll see about that.

(whiskers twitching)

Do you have anything else to say? It’s your birthday celebration!

Are you ever going to eat those mouse cookies from the book launch — the ones in the freezer? ‘Cause if you’re not going to… I’ll take them!

You’d eat an image of yourself?

Yessss!

Okay (laughs). We’ll share them. You take the heads and I’ll take the tails.

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Thanks to everyone at Pajama Press for supporting me and my first novel this whole year, with such warm belief in a tiny mouse with big ambition. And also to my friends and family, near and far, who have become my mini book agents all over the planet.
Here’s to many more birthdays with The Stowaways!

A Tiny Furball of Hope

I’ve had a tough season, as we all have, trying to stiff-upper-lip the winter blues. Last weekend, I cracked. I just couldn’t take another cold, colourless dawn.

But then the tiniest thing happened to brighten my spirits.

I mean, really tiny.

My partner Brian discovered a mouse chewing at the floor under our hallway radiator. In his excitement, he scared the poor little thing and it ran into the living room and hid behind a tile leaning against the wall. Brian took out a flashlight and found him, curled up in the corner, with his nose tucked into his belly — stiff with fright that we were going to hurt him.

But of course we wouldn’t. I write about mice, so how can I possibly hurt one? Even Brian finds the idea of mouse traps deplorable, after reading The Stowaways “What if that’s Rory, on a mission of survival?” asks Brian.

“Much like us,” I say.

Oh, how I would have loved to scoop up that little mouse in my hand, and whisper to him how safe he is in our home.

This winter has been a sick combination of cold, grey, angst, and pressures that have all but torn us to shreds. But we bonded over our little mouse. His plight of survival is as one with our own. As we root for our house mouse, we root for ourselves.

And that’s a tiny but positive thing among winter’s rubble.

Mouse_in_cage_by_Fenster.

(Image from Fenster)